Evolving Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, and Customer Service

Social Business Services logoSocial Business Services transform sales, marketing, customer service, and human resources aggressively and securely, using CSRA’s social business methodology. We change the rules of business operations by using digital social work processes for collaboration and business process innovation.

According to McKinsey, internal collaboration and business process innovation account for most of social technologies’ economic value—far ahead of marketing and promotion—but firms need to learn how to use “social” before they can unlock the value.

As explained in detail in the Social Channel, digital social networks have changed the cost of relationship and collaboration, so corporate functions that dominate organization charts need to evolve to take advantage of it. If they do not, their ability to add value to the enterprise will steadily fall, and corporate effectiveness and efficiency will drop. For example, sales and marketing are two enterprise functions that are steadily converging in many enterprises due to the pervasive adoption of digital social technologies and behaviors. Enterprises have a rare opportunity to innovate.

B2B Sales and Business Development

B2B-evolution-salesContext

As explained in Death of a (Traditional) Salesman, direct sales forces that don’t transform are dramatically shrinking (1 millions jobs gone by 2020) because their clients and prospects need a much different relationship with sales than before. Prospects self-educate by using digital forums and social networks, so they no longer need salespeople for education, and they postpone communication until later in the sales cycle. Conversely, salespeople that understand these changes will perform at a different level.

video_cameraFor more on how social business is disrupting B2B sales and marketing, see The Dynamics of Change (video, podcast, or slides+transcript).

Services

Most of B2B sales engagements focus on increasing the quality and quantity of qualified leads that are produced by the sales or busdev team (i.e. not Marketing). In phase one, the engagement team creates and validates a strategy for hyper-efficient social business interactions in which they discover and validate leads. Phase two scales the initiative.

  • Prospect/client/customer definition and validation
  • Ecosystem map quantitatively ranks social venues for relevance to your sales team
  • Organization map identifies and ranks organizational assets in terms of ecosystem values
  • Design 2-3 short pilots to validate/refine ecosystem and organization maps
  • Design contributor roles to fit existing workloads
  • Design metrics to measure social business results in real time and adjust approaches
  • Scale teams based on results

B2B Marketing

B2B-evolution-mktgContext

Traditional inbound and outbound B2B marketing is likewise an endangered species because prospects now have more trusted sources of information—themselves—so brands’ white papers and other content have less impact. Content marketing and marketing automation offer incremental improvements, but to remain relevant, marketing needs to get into the right room: where prospects are self-educating and collaborating. Although directly interacting with prospects requires much different skills, CSRA’s experience consistently shows that anyone can learn how.

video_cameraFor more on how B2B marketing is using social business to change the rules, see case studies: Indium (video, podcast, or slides+transcript), Kinaxis (video, podcast, or slides+transcript).

Services

B2B marketing social business engagements focus on dramatically increasing the return on legacy marketing processes, especially event and channel marketing. In phase one, the engagement team creates and validates a strategy for hyper-efficient social business interactions involving events and channel marketing. Phase two scales the initiative.

  • Prospect/client/customer definition and validation
  • Ecosystem map quantitatively ranks social venues for relevance to your events or channel partners; gap analysis determines opportunities for your content and interaction
  • Organization map identifies and ranks organizational assets in terms of ecosystem values
  • Design 2-3 short pilots to validate/refine ecosystem and organization maps; these often focus on increasing event ROI by boosting online engagement.. or the value of your channel through online collaboration
  • Design contributor roles to fit existing workloads
  • Design metrics to measure social business results in real time and adjust approaches
  • Scale teams based on results

Human Resources

HR_20Context

As the world accelerates its move into the service-oriented Knowledge Economy, “creative class” workers will become increasingly important to competitiveness, but the “employment” model of engaging people will continue to fall in favor of multisourcing, contracting, and consulting. These trends elevate HR’s importance while complicating its processes. Happily, HR can make most of its processes dramatically more effective by using digital social networks, once HR professionals learn how. The rub is that a ground-up rethink is needed to maximize results.

video_cameraFor more on how healthcare firms are launching products using social business, see the CerviLenz case study (video, podcast, or slides+transcript).

Services

In most organizations, Human Resources is run as a cost center and is increasingly outsourced, but social business changes the game because firms can use it to transform the entire employment life cycle. In these engagements, teams often begin by addressing recruiting with social business. Phase two focuses on creating and leveraging an alumni network for recruiting, outplacement and revenue generation.

  • Employee definition and validation
  • Ecosystem map quantitatively ranks social venues for relevance to your employees, alumni and prospects
  • Organization map identifies and ranks organizational assets in terms of ecosystem values
  • Design 2-3 short pilots to validate/refine ecosystem and organization maps
  • Design contributor roles to fit existing workloads
  • Design metrics to measure social business results in real time and adjust approaches
  • Scale teams based on results

Customer Service

CustSvc_20Context

What used to be called “customer service” will see the biggest change of all because it will come to eclipse marketing as the biggest source of pre-qualified prospects. This will happen because most motivated prospects are concerned that they will experience the problems that the firm’s existing customers have. Therefore, by resolving existing customers’ “problems” in public, Customer Service shows that there’s no problem with “problems,” thereby removing barriers to purchase. Tapping this gold mine requires a significant redesign of the function, but it’s necessary to compete.

video_cameraFor more on how financial services firms are using social business to transform relationships with their channels, see case studies: Jefferson (video, podcast, or slides+transcript) or Northof41 (video, podcast, or slides+transcript).

Services

Most firms “manage” customer service/client services as a cost center, which is dangerously out of place in the digital social era, for two reasons: customers feel it when you are trying to solve the problem as cheaply as possible, so it often damages your relationship. Second, it is very profitable to solve problems in digital public, where prospects can see how much you care. Customer service for profit usually entails two phases:

  • Due diligence and strategy prepare to serve customers with problems and opportunities online, in digital public
  • Stage One execution creates a community and culture of trust and transparency online, very efficiently
  • Stage Two execution republishes public conversations alongside relevant product information on your and partner ecommerce sites
  • It usually involves encouraging customer-customer-prospect collaboration to reduce your direct costs
  • Management methodology covers all aspects of project management: training and staffing, profitable team building, ROI metrics and measurements

Social Business Transformation Services: Social Business Services

The transformation of enterprise sales, marketing, human resources and customer service is ongoing everywhere, especially when you know where to look. Here are our picks of CSRA posts, online discussions, and third party references. I update these lists continuously. You can also follow Social Business Services on Twitter to keep up in real time.


CSRA Posts on Social Business Transformation

Some of my thinking on the evolution of enterprise sales, marketing, human resources and customer service:

B2B Executive’s How-to Guide to Social Business

B2B Customers Getting Social Fast: How Marketing and Sales Can Evolve

Case Study: IBM’s Experience with B2B Social Business

Increasing Customer Transparency: Real Threat or a Paper Tiger for Marketers?

Realizing Value: The Social Network Life Cycle Model

How Social Networks Change Business Development and Profit

LinkedIn Case Study and ROI: Business Development in Professional Services

Even more posts on social business transformation of B2B sales, B2B marketing, human resources, and customer service.


Social Business Transformation Discussions

Discussions about social business transformation in which I’m participating:

[commented] The 4 types of #B2B #salespeople: How tech is displacing them (1MM jobs gone by 2020) & how to respond
INSIGHT on firm/brand mission as a motor for B2B communication & marketing [commented] #kudos #fb
[comment] On-point B2B sales reflection: either listen/add value OR interrupt
[comment] @DavidEdelman on B2B #socialbusiness adoption & how it will disrupt relationships & practices [good link]
ON-POINT research on business value of "relationship marketing" - perversely, few firms do it even tho execs recognize value
[Commented on] Advice to CMOs of B2B firms/brands on how to succeed in "era of change"
McKinsey consultants outline how to use social business to raise the game in B2B/direct sales; some useful stats

Even more social business transformation discussions


Social Business Transformation Best of the Web

During client work and ongoing market analysis, I identify the most valuable thinking on social business relevant to B2B and enterprise evolution, so I present them to you here. Please note that the table is built real-time; sometimes it takes a few seconds, so thanks for your patience.

B2B Sales

B2B Marketing

Human Resources

Customer Service

B2B sales survey and report card
Useful post offers good detail about B2B churn red flags that aren't so obvious
Useful list of #customer #experience #metrics to measure return on investment
USEFUL how-to post on infusing thought leadership w marketing #automation + process context #kudos
USEFUL: B2B sales maturity model based on amount of trust in the relationship; suggests business results of more trust #kudos
[comment] On-point B2B sales reflection: either listen/add value OR interrupt
Good albeit 20th century thinking on measuring retention & growth: doesn't address #customer #experience or outcomes
Some useful numbers re: #customer expectations of #service via email twitter facebook forum: incl. costs of bad #experience #fb
Extensive citations of Conference Board research on B2B sales environment
How fear presents an opportunity to develop trust
More Social Business for B2B Sales
#SocialMedia #5 most critical factor in brand reputation, after product quality, cost, customer svc
Strategic holistic view of scaling a business by optimizing customer acquisition/retention + tons of links #kudos
Interview with founder of customer service startup with 1% churn rate; customer journey experience context
#Paypal risks #customer #backlash by forcing users to accept new #TermsOfService, robocalls spam marketing #trust #fail
People can trust polymorphs more than other people - #behavioral #economics research on #advertising
How many do you know? 25 creative ways to use Twitter Advanced #Search + list of #twitter tools #Kudos
Useful: How #marketing thinking can sabotage attempts at #influencer engagement & #sales results
Useful list of #customer #experience #metrics to measure return on investment
USEFUL how-to post on infusing thought leadership w marketing #automation + process context #kudos
Some useful numbers re: #customer expectations of #service via email twitter facebook forum: incl. costs of bad #experience #fb
More Social Business for B2B Marketing
How to short-circuit HR machinery + Empathic views from employers/ees on how "hiring" apparatus is ineffective for both
[commented] RARE research that shows traits of leaders that empower their people thru service, humility.. #fb
Reflection and criticism of HR policy + diverse opinions in comments
Useful list of #customer #experience #metrics to measure return on investment
#SocialBusiness adoption in #manufacturing from enterprise software perspective: examples & nice detail
@PeterKim asks an excellent question: how can brands act human? [commented, yes, they can] #fb
Interesting, but I observe findings apply to very specific use case and may well not apply elsewhere
USEFUL how-to post on managing employee transitions when people quit #human #resources #recruiting
Excellent example of the result of using Industrial Economy practices in the Knowledge Economy: people don't need to be "managed," but guided
Responding to post that suggests enterprises must transform how they think about, and treat, "employees"
More Social Business for Human Resources
Riffing on disruptive business model, a holistic "trusted advisor" + disruption to retail, brand
#SocialMedia #5 most critical factor in brand reputation, after product quality, cost, customer svc
Organization evolution: How #socialmedia is converging #customer #service & #marketing
Interview with founder of customer service startup with 1% churn rate; customer journey experience context
Useful post offers good detail about B2B churn red flags that aren't so obvious
In case you missed: Superb #customer #experience research on (dis)satisfaction w USA brands #telecom #computer #automotive
How many do you know? 25 creative ways to use Twitter Advanced #Search + list of #twitter tools #Kudos
USEFUL: Stats, how-to & examples of #retail #twitter #customer service
EXCELLENT reflections & examples of firms serving customers: bank, insurance, hotel & grocery #kudos @lindaireland
More Social Business for Customer Service

social business services: questions and answers

Isn’t social media about brand?

Social media and social business: brand and relationshipSocial media makes brands and firms far more approachable that one-way marketing ever did, but it’s a long way away from the potential of social business, which focuses on the meat of business: building trust, developing relationships and increasing profit. Most firms and brands have social media programs that are often popular with customers and other stakeholders, but firms rarely see a quantifiable business result. Social business leads much more quickly to money because it builds trust, and money follows trust. The best news is that social media and social business are very complementary when firms and brands understand their differences and design programs around each one’s strengths.

Drill down into how social media and social business differ, how they’re alike, and how they work together.

Why do B2B prospects lie?

Prospects lie to avoid being questionedSeth Godin asserts that prospects lie to salespeople because they don’t want their decisions to be questioned when they “choose the other guy.” Although that’s an astute observation, Godin misses the gold by accepting a high level of mistrust between salespeople and their prospects, mistrust that is usually avoidable when salespeople build their interactions on trust. The first step is the salesperson truly puts the prospect’s agenda before the firm’s, and s/he uses every opportunity to show the prospect this is sincere. Being open about the firm’s offerings, discussing weaknesses and options that put the firm in a weaker position are fast routes to trust.

Drill down into how salespeople can reinvent the entire selling process by aligning with prospects around trust. Better still, they can do this online, too, where a much bigger audience is watching.

Customer service as profit center?

How firms and brands drive sales by serving customers onlineAlthough few firms and brands appreciate it, prospects for their products and services fear that “the product won’t work,” so they hesitate to buy. When a customer buys a product, s/he incurs a loss in hopes that the use of the product will produce more value than its cost. Let’s focus on “the use of the product.” Even in relatively simple consumer products, “Your mileage may vary” is the mantra because the product itself produces a loss for the customer; his/her use of the product can produce “value.” This uncertainty and risk is the major barrier to sales. Customer service can address this barrier head on. Firms encourage customers to state their challenges and problems in digital public, and they solve these challenges together while being observed by a 10-100 times larger audience. How do you think prospects feel when they see “people like them” having similar fears and getting satisfaction?

Get a detailed look at how this works in Customer Service Is the New Marketing.

How do we get relevant to Generation Y?

Generation Y social business case studyMany “traditional” businesses have a growing feeling that they’re going to miss out on Gen Y’s (millennials) business because this growing demographic seems to have very different ideas about life than Gen X or Boomers. Social business can be a potent accelerator because it enables organizations to develop relationship quickly and inexpensively—when it’s focused on relating because promoting usually pushes people away. The first step is to strip away pre-conceptions and approach people by showing your curiosity about them. Develop relationship by listening and suggesting ideas relevant to your business and things they care about.

Read about how State Farm is approaching Gen Y head on. The biggest part of their business is auto insurance, and this generation isn’t thrilled about driving. Talk about disruption!

What’s a social policy?

Social business/social media policy protects but too often sabotagesSocial business policy (social media policy) states “the rules” employees must follow when they interact online, but most policies are written by risk-averse human resources and/or legal departments with minimal knowledge of what the real risks are. They produce policies that communicate their fear and discomfort, so policies’ attitudes are paranoid and prevent employees from interacting effectively. Policies can add way more value than protecting firms against possible legal threats caused by employee interactions online;  well researched and crafted social business policy increases trust between the employer and employees—and among employees, leading to more valuable online interactions, which improve firm reputation.

Learn how smart firms use social business policy to increase trust and the quality of employees’ digital social interactions.

How can banks evolve branches?

How banks and reinvent branches and profits using social businessBanks have stumbled badly in how they manage their branch networks, but social business can help them recover and reinvent profit at consumer and small business banking. Beginning in the 1980s, banks started encouraging customers to use technology to bank because it’s cheaper for a bank to transact (take deposit, transfer funds, dispense cash) via machine than by teller. People and buildings represent huge costs. However, adoption has exploded during the early 2010s, and banks have a two-fold problem: huge, costly branch networks that growing portions of customers don’t use, which drains profit. Secondly, the retail business model relied on upselling and cross-selling customers when they were “in the bank” for routine transactions. The branch was a way for bankers to meet with customers, who now rarely use branches. Vocal minorities (Boomers) still love branches and loudly protest when branches close.

Social business can help banks increase branch profitability. Bank Branch Disruption Enables Unusual Opportunity outlines how bankers can connect with high-priority customers and prospects online to sell more services; moreover, it suggests a new 21st century way for banks to use branches to help customers with something they really care about.

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